Witch-ing you a Happy Halloween!
No better way to celebrate Halloween than witch Chu!
What’s scarier, Halloween or the fact that we are going into lockdown on Thursday? Being Irish, Halloween has always been special to me: us Celts were the first people to begin celebrating Halloween as an autumnal festival. For the Celts, this was a spiritual time when the veil between the human world and the spiritual world weakened and became less secure allowing old folkloric characters to skulk their way in and cause mischief – no wonder it’s one of my favourite festivals!
However, given the unprecedented nature of this Halloween, I was fully expecting Boris Johnson’s speech to be the most haunting event of the night, yet my college’s Ents officers are not so easily defeated. In an attempt to celebrate our last few days of freedom in a Covid-secure fashion, Churchill College out-did themselves in the Halloween festivities – providing a memorable night for all, before we find ourselves facing some even spookier deadlines! Who knows how long Covid will be around for so whether you want to get some ideas up your sleeve for next year, experience severe college jealousy, or just read an appreciation post for our Ents team, read on to find out how to have a scary, sanitised and special Halloween:
I must say, our Ents officers did an amazing job at planning and hosting a spook-tacular Halloween despite the restrictions faced with Covid. Yes, we didn’t get a themed formal, with spine-tingling music resonating around the hall and Harry Potter’s bewitched sky looming above us in the ceiling, but the cackling and trouble was as prominent as ever (Covid- friendly of course!)
In order to ensure that the night would be a ‘go big or gourd home’ event (I need to stop with the puns but they’re just too eerie- sistible), there was an assortment of events held to ensure the full Halloween experience could be achieved. Students were encouraged to come along to our outside marquees, where they could sit in socially-distanced household tables and get involved in a series of competitions for an evening of fun and to fight it out for the hallow-queen prize!
Not a bog-standard start
To start with, each household was given a roll of toilet paper – and no this wasn’t for our bathrooms. Yes, the picture is a big giveaway as to what this could consist of but it wasn’t a hard guess either way. This was a perfect way of rolling (sorry) into the night with such an amusing activity which had everyone in household groups participating and attempting to cover one chosen member in as much toilet roll as possible in order to create that ‘mummy’ effect. Personally, I thought this was a genius idea to preserve some heat as it wasn’t the warmest of nights and I know I would’ve been first to volunteer to partake in that bustle!
Deathly mallows race
Possibly the most horrifying part of the evening! You’ve heard of the fluffy bunny challenge (and don’t be fooled by its name there is nothing cutesy about this game), but have you heard of the Halloween version of this? One member of each household was selected to immerse themselves in the challenge of seeing how many marshmallows they could fit in their mouth (my best bet would’ve been to choose the person with the biggest mouth- a guaranteed win!)
Astonishingly, one fresher managed to fit 24 marshmallows into their mouth, and I am still wondering how this was even a possibility but hey, everyone has their talents! However, in order to preserve the refinement of this piece I will not insert a picture because I’m sure the last thing you want to see is a mouth full of soggy marshmallows and drool- eek!
The perfect activity to distract ourselves after the traumas of having witnessed the deathly mallows challenge. Not to be biased at all but my pumpkin (a co-production with my friend Eli) was definitely something that gave ’em pumpkin to talk about. Each table was assigned the task of carving out a pumpkin and to me, this was a perfect opportunity to steer away from the chilling aspects of this event to a more wholesome vibe.
I can confirm that the winner pumpkin was in fact very original and included a ‘send nudes carving’, an inside joke that has been going around Churchill and will probably still be roaming the halls for the next years to come.
Trick or trivia!
Would it be a Cambridge Halloween event without some form of academic rigour? This activity comprised of a range of 10 Halloween themed questions from “What year did Thriller come out?” to “What variation of colours can a pumpkin be?” I had the honour of pre-hearing the questions and answers before Halloween and was therefore fairly sure of myself when I confidently whispered these to my table and received responses like:
Eli- “Úna, you’re so smart, how could you possibly know these all?”
Me- “Oh come on, they’re not that hard! Pretty easy, in my opinion.”
But don’t worry, (for those of you thinking I’m a cheat) we didn’t officially partake in the quiz but I was more than happy to show off and pretend I was the next Einstein.
A Halloween boogie (not that type!)
There was no Halloween Fez this year, but our ents team still provided the tunes – if only for five seconds each (watch out Cindies, you’ve got competition!) I found this challenge one of the hardest ones, not because I couldn’t identify the song which was played for five seconds max, but because all I wanted was to hear it all and belt out the words giving away every detail of the song.
The songs were of popular demand and consisted of some perfect Halloween beats and throwbacks to take you back to the days when Halloween clubbing (or nightlife in general) was once a thing and the only time we actually wore some form of mask. Some of these included Black Widow, Bury a friend and Grizzly tales for gruesome kids which definitely brought me back to the days I’d come home from school and switch on CBBC to watch one of my favourite shows (this was probably only like last year and yes, I’m an adult but I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves this show.)
Don’t mind me, just here for the boos!
To top off a brilliant night of entertainment and laughter, we bowed down to our Hallow- queens and kings who won prizes either for the amount of points each table had gathered from the activities or the best fancy- dress costume. The fancy dress winner entailed a costume from the Rocky Horror Picture Show and was definitely well deserved; so big congratulations and enjoy your box of heroes!
One of the activity winners was Harri Thomas who was gifted with a mouth-watering bottle of prosecco and I’m sure had to fight others off from stealing a glass or two (including myself!) He recalled that “My favourite part was definitely winning the prosecco and then drinking the entire thing (bad idea) but I also loved the tiny bit of normality the whole thing gave us.” I sincerely hope your hangover isn’t too bad today Harri but if so, it was definitely a sign of a good night and just *Winner* things.
Fangs for the memories!
Halloween this year was as unusual and mystifying this year as any year due to Covid and as we brace ourselves for the second lockdown striking us in less than a week, I’m sure all of us at Churchill and the rest of the colleges at Cambridge can be grateful for such strong friendships and opportunities that have bettered these melancholy times.
From a spectator’s point of view last night (as we wanted to ensure that the freshers would have the full opportunity to partake in all the events and resources were limited) I can happily say that everyone appeared to be having an amazing time bonding and getting silly, despite the Covid-restrictions – all thanks to the incredible work of our Ents officers, who had planned tirelessly for the event.
I hope that the freshers experienced some form of a normal Cambridge Halloween and that they will go into lockdown with these wonderful memories together because Halloween is best witch each other!
All image credits: Una McGeough